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N42Bn Debt: FG Urges Telcos To Sustain USSD To Banks, Parleys Firms

The Federal Government at the weekend appealed to telecommunication operators in the country to discontinue their planned suspension of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) services to banks over the lenders’ N42 billion indebtedness.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, who made the appeal on Saturday in statement issued by his Technical Assistant on Information Technology, Femi Adeluyi, indicated that government would parley with the telcos on how to offset the debt

The minister disclosed that a meeting on how the debt could be offset had been scheduled with the Central Bank of Nigeria, telecoms operators, financial institutions and the Nigerian Communications Commission to resolve the matter.

He stated: “In a bid to ensure amicable resolution of the impasse, Dr Pantami has called for a meeting of all stakeholders, including Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC (Nigerian Communications Commission), the MNOs (Mobile Network Operators), and the financial institutions.

“The meeting is scheduled to hold on Monday, 15th of March, 2021.

“The outcome of the meeting will determine the next step regarding the status of the USSD financial services”, Pantami added.

It would be recalled that the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) had hinted that the telcos would discontinue USSD services to the financial service providers from today (Monday) until they pay their over N42bn debt.

The telcos’ umbrella group explained that the suspension of the USSD services to the lenders had become inevitable as a result of lack of agreement on a payment terms or timeline with the banks.

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